Publishing

Why Do We Still Care about Shakepeare?

Nov 3, 2016
Painting by Martin Droushout; Photo by Emery Walker / Wikimedia Commons

Four hundred years and over 35 plays later, William Shakespeare is still a household name. So why does the British playwright’s work continue to be studied, while his contemporaries fall to the wayside?

“Even though it has been 400 years, we still continue to make new discoveries," says Adam Hooks, an Associate Professor in the University of Iowa English Department, and author of Selling Shakespeare: Biography, Bibliography, and the Book Trade.

Wikimedia Commons

Between typing and texting we are a lot less likely to put pen to paper. What's lost when we don't? 

Merritt Tierces’ debut novel, Love Me Back, was inspired in part by her own struggle with “body politics.”

Steev Hise

Iowa is a destination for many aspiring writers from around the world, but the state has also been the origin of many gifted authors.

University of Iowa researcher Dr. Nancy Andreasen has been trying to answer that question for most of her professional career. She talks with Ben Kieffer today on River to River

  Romance novels are now the top-performing category on the best-seller lists, generating nearly $1.5 billion dollars in profits for the publishing industry each year.   Almost every state has a Romance Writers of American chapter, including Iowa.  

higginskurt

Iowa Writer's Workshop alumnus Eric Bennett's article, "How Iowa Flattened Literature" in the Chronicle of Higher Education has ruffled feathers—especially in Iowa's writing community.  The first paragraph of the article reads: 

University of Iowa Press

On a cold February night in 1897, the general store in Walford, Iowa burned to the ground.  The next morning townspeople found charred remains believed to be those of proprietor Frank Novak.  That was, until a local laborer turned up missing.  That discovery launched an investigation and cross-country manhunt.  Host Ben Kieffer gets the gruesome story from author Peter Kaufman.  It's the basis of his book Skull in the Ashes published by University of Iowa Press.

Courtesy of Snyder family

Don Snyder never got to know his mother. She died just sixteen days after he and his twin brother were born in 1950. The truth about her death remained a secret for decades. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Don about discovering his mother’s secret and what he hopes to accomplish by telling her story.

According to Kate Christensen, she has spent much of her life as, “a hungry, lonely, wild animal looking for happiness and stability.”  In her new memoir “Blue Plate Special" she writes about her life and the food she turned to for comfort as well as sustenance.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Christensen about her memoir and life as a writer.

Kasper Nybo / Flickr

The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 was the most costly natural disaster in the history of the world and killed almost 16,000 people.  Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Daisuke Ogata, a Japanese college student visiting Des Moines for the summer, and Mary McCarthy of Drake University to discuss how this tragic event has changed U.S.-Japan relations.

Lileah Harris

When Lennox Randon asked his friends Rob Cline and Dennis Green to form a writing group, they were reluctant to devote the time until Randon mentioned his diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer.  Now the three Cedar Rapids residents have been meeting weekly for more than two years to write, read and help each other polish their work.  Their dedication has paid off with three separate publishing contracts.  The men are each mystery writers,

Bernard and Nancy Picchi Collection / The Willa Cather Foundation

When great American novelist Willa Cather died in 1947, her will made it clear that her letters were never to be published.  That moratorium lasted 66 years and now the public is seeing the late author's letters for the first time in "The Selected Letters of Willa Cather."

Alfred A. Knopf

Hattie Shepherd is the mother of 11 children.  She is a strong and complicated woman who was brought into this world by Iowa Writer’s Workshop Graduate Ayana Mathis.

"Talk of Iowa" sits down with Mathis to discuss her debut novel “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.” She explains her artistic process and reveals what it’s like to get a life changing call from Oprah Winfrey, who picked "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 this past December.